Orange Avenue crashes concern Winter Park residents

'We know to drop everything and run out, and it's happened countless times'

WINTER PARK, Fla. – An early-morning crash along Orange Avenue in Winter Park is prompting some neighbors to ask that something be done to prevent more crashes.

Garrick Spears said he woke up around 1 a.m. Thursday to a loud noise outside of his home in the Orwin Manor neighborhood. He said a white BMW had bounced through several yards and crashed into his fence, missing his home by just a few feet.

Winter Park police said the cause was excessive speed and reckless driving.

"Sadly, we know what that sound is these days when cars hit," he said. "We know to drop everything and run out, and it's happened countless times."

According to preliminary numbers from the state of Florida, it's happened at least 29 times this year along the stretch of Orange Avenue that stretches from Clay Avenue to Highway 17/92.

Spears and his husband snapped pictures and video of some of the crashes. In one incident, a car flipped over right in front of their home.

In January, two women were killed when a driver moving at speeds of more than 100 mph hit their car.

"We're extremely frustrated," Spears said.

The Florida Department of Transportation told News 6 a second draft proposal has been submitted to government officials with ideas on how to reduce the number of crashes along the stretch of Orange Avenue.

One proposal includes installing a roundabout at the corner of Clay and Orange avenues. Another proposal includes reducing the number of lanes in which traffic can move.

Spears said he will get excited about the proposals when he sees action.

Winter Park police spokeswoman Pam Marcum said her department has already conducted 76 traffic enforcement operations on Orange Avenue this year, resulting in 250 vehicles being pulled over. Another traffic enforcement operation is currently underway, she said.

Meantime, the family of one of the women killed in the January crash said something more needs to be done.

"Speeding on Orange Avenue has been an issue for a really, long time, and I wonder how many lives must be lost in order for change to happen," said Everyis Lopez, sister of Geena Pabarue. "Geena's family and friends are suffering her loss every single day. I hope to see some change come from their senseless deaths."

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.